Stay Connected With Elderly Family Members During the Holidays

Published: December 10, 2021

Holidays serve as the perfect time for family and friends to come together and celebrate. The global pandemic put a halt to the plans of many, as gatherings both small and large  could be harmful to seniors and other loved ones at high risk of contracting the virus. With the holiday season quickly approaching, many families find they must make tough decisions regarding get-togethers during the holiday season. 

However, they also want to ensure their loved ones living in Independent Living communities can enjoy the festivities. Isolation remains of great concern when it comes to older individuals, and nobody should be alone during the holidays. At The Residences, with our eclectic and skilled team, you never have to worry about being alone – we celebrate the holidays together! 

But we know that being close to your family – even when you can’t be physically close – is important. So, what can people do to stay connected with elderly family members during the holidays?

Start New Traditions

Choose to start a new tradition this year that people can take part in remotely or when everyone is able to gather together in one location. For example, pick up a new board game for everyone to play online. This tradition can continue every year with some people playing together in person and other loved ones taking part online or on a group call. 

Another option is to find a book that celebrates the holidays and buy several copies. Send these copies to family members who cannot meet in person. Set up a video call and have each person read a paragraph or chapter from the book. A great way to spread the fun over a number of days is to bring everyone together nightly on a video call until the entire book has been read. 

Is there a special family recipe that everyone enjoys over the holidays? Nobody should have to miss out on having this special treat simply because people cannot come together for fear of becoming ill. Again, technology becomes of great help in ensuring people don’t have to skip their favorite dessert or dish this year. 

Set up a video call and have the person who always makes the treat host a cooking show for family members. These shows remain of great popularity today, and there is nothing that says a family can’t take part and create their own production. This is another activity that can be spread over several days with each family member sharing the dish they are known for that others look forward to enjoying each year. 

Unexpected Gifts

Technology doesn’t need to be the focal point of interactions with the elderly during the holidays. Seniors appreciate communicating with individuals in more traditional ways.

In the past, people would send holiday cards every year. Although this tradition isn’t as commonplace today, seniors living in a retirement community enjoy getting mail. Rather than providing them with a traditional Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas, consider sending them a card every day with a short note inside. They will eagerly await the mail every day to see the new card and the enclosed note.

Another option is to send them a small Christmas tree for their room or apartment in the community. Every day leading up to Christmas, send them a small ornament to place on the tree. When Christmas arrives, they have a beautifully decorated tree that will be the envy of their fellow residents. At The Residences, we recently decorated our community tree with all of our residents. Check out our Facebook page to see the results! 

A person can combine the two ideas and send an ornament with a card and note every day during the month of December. Another option is to send an ornament a day with a memory of a time spent with the senior. They will enjoy reminiscing with other residents about a time in their life that has passed, and this tradition may lead to the telling of other stories. 

It may be that the person will not be able to attend the holiday festivities this year. Create a photo album of past gatherings for them to look at and cherish. Provide this album early in the month so they can enjoy it prior to the holiday. Once the holiday is over, send them a new album full of the current year’s memories. They will enjoy seeing photos of their loved ones and treasure the new album as much as the one provided earlier in the month. 


Music has been shown to help seniors remember the past while reducing their anxiety. In addition, it promotes better health in individuals of all ages while boosting their level of functioning. Bringing people together to sing is a great social activity that anyone can participate in. Music does much more than this when it comes to seniors, however. 

Pain reduction is a benefit of music, and people find they want to exercise more when listening to songs they enjoy. Their immune system functions better, and music helps people remember pleasant times in their lives.  

Play songs seniors are familiar with. Most people know popular holiday songs and can sing along. Find a way to sign with your loved one during a phone call or video chat. They’ll enjoy bringing these carols to mind and sharing their voice with others. Singing these songs helps the holiday season come to life. 

Elderly family members love the holidays as much as younger generations do. Find ways to allow them to participate in various activities even when they cannot be physically present. The holidays are a time to bring people together, and nobody should be left out. With the above techniques, everyone can take part in the fun and end the season with memories they will treasure for years to come. 

About The Residences at Plainview:

Independent seniors want lifestyle choices that mimic resort-style living, and that is exactly what they find here at The Residences at Plainview by Chelsea Senior Living. Residents enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, concierge services, an exercise facility that is fully equipped, and other wonderful amenities. Furthermore, they get to live in a community where they have access to countless activities both on-site and in the community. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule a tour!